Bandages, medical adhesives, and dressings, in general, can be a chore to manage. But what happens when it’s time to remove them, and you’re left with the sticky adhesive all over the affected area? What’s more, if you’re a sportsperson and find that your athletic tape is chafing or causing irritation, how do you get it off? This is where adhesive and tape removers come in. many are formulated for medical use, while others are specifically athletic. However, this does not mean they are exclusive to those two uses, as what works for one person may not work for the other. Below we have listed nine of our favorite products in this niche of the market. Take your time to browse through them, experiment with the ones you like, or even explore the market on your own. There is a wide variety for you to pick from.
The Best Adhesive Remover
Works on a variety of adhesives and materials
Safe for everyday use
Our top choice is Goo Gone Bandage Adhesive Remover. Goo Gone will painlessly remove tape and adhesive from skin and hair, as advertised on the bottle. This is an 8oz alcohol-free, medical-grade liquid adhesive remover that can be applied directly to the area. As alcohol is irritating and can burn open wounds, Goo Gone endeavored to develop a formula which would be as effective as other adhesive removers, but safer on vulnerable skin. It works on a wide variety of adhesives and materials, including but not limited to the following: sports tape, bandages, temporary tattoos, ink, and markers.
Furthermore, this solution does not need to be applied to the skin to remove adhesive. Let’s say you’ve just used a tape cutter to remove some tape from your bandages and now there’s tape adhesive stuck to the blade. Using Goo Gone’s adhesive remover on the blade will remove the adhesive with minimal to no damage done to the blade! Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best pre-tape sprays.
Safe for everyday use
Does the job it’s designed to do
Customers find it a bit sticky
Residual ‘medical’ smell
Might need a lot of it for one area
Not great for hairy users
Keep out of sunlight
Multi-purpose and versatile
Handy to use
Easy to keep to hand
Skin-Tac makes a strong case for second place with their fifty-pack of Adhesive Remover ‘Tacaway’ Wipes. These compostable wipes remove dirt and grime from the affected area and can be used to clean around your home in a pinch. Skin-tac says that they use their ‘simplest formula’ when making these wipes in order to keep them soft and gentle, so they are suitable for sensitive skin and new-born skin, meaning they are versatile in who can use them.
Being compostable, they are free of parabens, phthalates, bronopol, and methylisothiazolinone. You can dispose of them as you wish, though we do encourage you to take advantage of the fact that they are eco-friendly. Skin-Tac wipes can be used with other products, such as the Goo Gone Bandage Adhesive Remover, or any of the other liquid solutions mentioned on this list. They are a simple, one-step method to remove adhesive from skin and other surfaces. They are particularly useful on tape cutters if your liquid solution is unavailable, or if you’ve spilled something on the kitchen counter, you can grab one quickly and wipe down the counter. Fortunately, there is no sticky residue to deal with, although customers do mention that they have a greasy feel to them.
Good for sensitive skin
Can be used on babies
You will have to keep buying them
Chemicals are difficult to pronounce
Not appealing that you can clean your home with them as well as your medical adhesive
Dry out quickly
Holds padding in place
Better leverage when removing the tight tape
Ergonomic rubberized grips
Cramer comes in third with their ergonomic Shark Tape Cutter. The ergonomic design makes the tape-cutting process feel much smoother than it would be if you used regular old scissors. Instead of awkwardly cutting, you can now glide through the tape. A handheld tape cutter, it is easy to hold with its rubberized grip. This feels comfortable in your hand and will stop you from slipping while using it. Users have noted that this gives you better control and comfort over standard tape cutters.
Being an updated version of previous models, this allows for better leverage when removing or holding onto tight tape and provides improved durability for the fact. You can hold things in place while getting to grips with your bandage and tape situation, while also avoiding the typical ‘sawing’ sensation you would get with scissors. Users love it because, unlike with scissors, the blade will not become ‘gummed up’ with tape adhesive. If it does, however, get adhesive on it, it is easy to remove. Furthermore, this has a breathable design, is washable, and comes with a box. Only the one blade comes in the package, although replacement blades can be purchased separately. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best anti-chafing creams.
Easy to use
Can order replacements if necessary
Cuts through just about everything
Holds hot and cold packs in place
A bit on the bulky side
Grips become slippery if you sweat too much
Might need to use a lot of elbow grease
A couple of users have reported breakage
Difficult to remove from packaging
Gently removes adhesives
Hollister comes in at our fourth spot with a pack of fifty Universal Remover Wipes for adhesive and barriers. These handy adhesive remover wipes are made with a silicone-based formula which is hypoallergenic, which makes it skin-friendly. There isn’t too much of a smell, although users have commented that after a while one is noticeable. Hollister is aware that peristomal skincare can be a challenge due to the surrounding area being vulnerable, so their formula takes advantage of silicone’s ability to maintain dermal integrity.
The wipes are easy to use, they are quite self-explanatory. Several users, who happen to be bearded men, have differing opinions on how these wipes handle facial hair. Some have no issue while others find that residue ends up in their beard hair. However, when compared to other brands, Hollister’s adhesive removal wipes have fewer complaints of gooey residue. However, some users with sensitive skin have pointed out that the fabric of the wipes themselves can be irritating. Most customers, however, have not experienced anything like this, but one did comment that it could be a reaction to use in conjunction with another product. Should this be the case with you, stop using them for a while, or switch to a different wipe.
Gentle on the skin
No nasty smell
Can be carried in your bag
Easy to use
Noticeable smell after a while
Might leave residue on clothes
Not very eco-friendly
Will have to bulk-purchase if used regularly
Grimy feel to them
Does not harm surrounding skin
Works on just about anything
Micro-Scientific Goo Gone Topical Adhesive Remover is also a medical grade and safe for everyday use. It is a citrus-scented liquid and formulated to painlessly remove tape and bandages. Adhesive and medical tapes are removed quickly and effortlessly, with no damage to the surrounding skin; the non-alcoholic formula will not sting if you are using this topical solution on an open wound. Additionally, it does not harm the surrounding unbroken skin if used in uncut areas. It works on a wide variety of materials. This includes KT tape, athletic tape, temporary tattoos, band-aids, and even glitter for those who are having trouble with their latest sparkle-related experiment.
Just about everyone who uses this has fallen for it. However, there are a few things to consider. For instance, more than a few people find the smell to be unpleasant. Others say that while this remover works well, it does about the same level of a job that a typical wipe would do. Another thing to consider is that the bottle is quite large, and users find it difficult to use up. If none of these things bother you, then go ahead and give it a shot! You may also like to see our guide to the best heel inserts so check it out.
Easy to use
Works on a lot of materials
Will have to keep buying them if you use them regularly
Have a weird feel to them
Smell might be too strong for some users
Might leave a residue
Not suitable for hairy areas
Replenishes skin of lost oil
Deactivates tape residue
Cramer enters the list yet again, this time with the Tape Remover liquid solution. Targeted towards athletes who use sports tape (but versatile enough to be used by anyone looking for something that works), this liquid solution will deactivate tape residue and adherent. An added bonus, the fast-acting formula also replenishes the skin of its lost oils, moisturizing the skin in the process. Athletes will no longer walk around uncomfortable, itching that the residue of their sports tape.
This particular product comes in a 16oz bottle, so it will last a while. A few athletes who have used it have mentioned that you should wash it off before applying a new bandage or more tape. This is because applying new tape to a freshly dissolved area will lead to the tape falling off and being quite useless. Another person asked if it can be used for things other than skin and, while that can be the case for implements which might come into contact with the skin and medical adhesive, using it for something like carpet or wallpaper is probably a bad idea. There is a smell to this liquid solution that can be washed off but will soak into a carpet or the wall.
Works quickly and well
Replenishes the skin’s oils where needed
Does what it says on the tin
Good sized bottle
Might not last for as long as you might need it
Some users find it to be quite weak
Others find that their skin dries out, potentially due to allergy or underlying issues
You might get through it quite quickly
Lightweight and compact
Available in a variety of sizes
Unbreakable nylon body
Safe and effective to use
Cramer Zip-Cut Tape Cutter takes the eighth spot on our list. This lightweight nylon tape cutter is compact and cuts through most kinds of tape effortlessly. It comes in a variety of sizes. The smaller sizes are useful for the lesser bandages or dressings which might require a more delicate touch. However, if you have larger hands or are sporting one of the heavier bandages or dressings, it might be worth looking into the larger sizes of tape cutter. True to its name, the Zip-Cut is safe, effective, and well as good as glide through the tape which needs to be cut. Truly a proper tool for tape removal!
Its nylon body is unbreakable, although the blades will need to be replaced from time to time, as these things go. A reliable instrument, we recommend keeping one in your kit or pocket. Either way, it will always be a good idea to have one at hand just in case the need arises. Athletes can use this to remove the tape from the wrists or the ankles. If you are a trainer considering investing in a new tape cutter, your athletes will thank you! Check out our review of the best trail running gaiters.
Easy to use
Cuts like a dream
Good quality for the price
Made of good quality materials
Good for more delicate measures
A bit on the expensive side
Does not come with spare blades
Will need a bigger size for larger users
Not suited to larger hands
Might be tricky to use
Helps maintain regular athletic program
Good for sports
Recommended by sporting professionals
Limits distraction from irritation
We finish our list with Cramer De-Hesive Non-Aerosol Tape Remover. In fact, this is one which Cramer themselves describe as ‘an unsung hero’ in the market of adhesive removers. Coaches, trainers, directors, and players get some of the necessary basics (which are often overlooked) from Cramer, and this adhesive remover is one of the things which Cramer provides them.
A spray of De-Hesive is quick and painless, able to remove adhesive from even Tuf-Skin brand products. This, as you can imagine, contributes to an even more regular athletic program, as athletes will not be distracted by irritation from the adhesive. Cramer proudly refer to their De-Hesive as ‘tried and true’, which any and every athlete can feel confident to have at the ready when it’s time to remove their sports time. This alcohol-based remover has been reformulated so that it is no longer an aerosol, which allows for a more concentrated spray patter with no residual cloud of spray. Our guide to the best anti fatigue mats features more great products like this.
Easy to use
Tried and tested product
Sportspeople love it
Might spill in your bag
Easy to knock over
A bit on the pricey side
Smells a bit weird
Adhesive Remover Buying Guide & FAQ
Types Of Tape And Adhesive Remover
There are two general categories of use for removers: athletic and medical. An adhesive remover is any kind of solution or cutter which removes medical adhesive to make it easier to remove dressings, protectors, or barriers. Simply put, if it sticks to your skin, an adhesive remover will remove it in some fashion, usually through dissolution or deactivation. There are a few types of tape and adhesive remover, although the most common are sprays, solutions, and cutters. Sprays have the benefit of reaching a wider surface area, thereby dissolving more adhesive; however, the drawback of this is that the spray might be too light. A liquid solution allows you to get up close and personal with your wound and, therefore, the adhesive or barrier. However, not everyone wants to do this. Both types of these can be made from a variety of formulas. Some are alcohol-based, others might use silicone instead. A tape cutter is used more often for bandages or similar dressings and has the benefit of allowing more control as well as grip. On the other hand, some can be bulky and difficult to maneuver. People who use these might use them to hold their dressings in place while changing or tightening them.
Adhesive Tape Removers FAQ
Q: What is a spray?
A: A spray is any solution which can be applied via spray compression. Usually, these are silicone or alcohol-based. The drawbacks of an alcohol-based solution are it might cause irritation to the affected area, and they often smell quite bad. However, because they are alcohol, they can be more sterile than their silicone counterparts. Those who are looking for something on the gentle side should consider a silicone-based solution or spray. The benefits of these could be anything from rehydrating the skin to not having a lingering odor.
Q: What is a cutter?
A: A cutter is a tool that can cut through dressings or be used to hold them in place. There are a lot of tape cutting implements to choose from, ranging in everything from size to blade width. They can be made from anything. Cheaper varieties will use a weak plastic while the more durable brands will use something like nylon so that the cuter will last for as long as possible. Regular blade changes are needed for cutters, so it is a good idea to consider how often you will be using it in order to plan how many spare blades you need to invest in. In terms of grip, some models use rubber to improve grip and reduce the chance of slippage, while others do not add rubber yet achieve the same results.